2014/09/02

Bernard Tomic Withdraws from US Open with Hip Injury

Bernard Tomic

(August 29, 2014) FLUSHING MEADOWS – Bernard Tomic withdrew from his match AGAINST David Ferrer due to a left hip injury on Fridayat the US Open. With the withdrawal Ferrer advances to the third round.

Tomic had surgery on both hips back in January.

“I was sick for the last 10 days,” said the 21-yeae-old Australian. “It was difficult having the flu, but my hip’s a little bit not in shape. I’m feeling it inside. So I did the best thing not to play. You know, I don’t want to muck around with that area. For sure something is there. I’ve got to get it checked. Got to get it analyzed the next few days. I’ve got to look into it and see what’s wrong, because I’m definitely feeling something in that area. For me, it’s not good right now. It’s painful.”
Tomic said that the injury flared up during his first round doubles match with Nick Kyrgios. “I can’t afford to get on court and, you know, play against David and cause much more pain to myself, because, you know, I’m going to have to stay with him the whole match,” he said. For me right now I cannot do that. Who knows? I can potentially make it ten times worse. For me it’s the best thing not to go on court today. It’s a very difficult decision for me, but I have to do this.

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Around the Grounds at the Rogers Cup Toronto

 

(August 3, 2014) TORONTO, CANADA – Photographer Nida Alibhai snapped photos all around the grounds of the Rogers Cup on Sunday, August 3, 2014.

Photos include: Roger Federer, Grigor Dimitrov, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Bernard Tomic,Tomas Berdych, Feliciano Lopez and others.

Follow Nida Alibhai’s photo coverage of the tournament on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN.

 

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Lleyton Hewitt Reaches 600th Win Milestone

Hewittt

(March 20, 2014) Former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt became the third active player to win 600 matches on the ATP World Tour on Thursday when he came back to defeat Robin Haase 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the first round of the Sony Open.

The 33-year-old veteran who captured major titles at Wimbledon (2002) and the US Open (2001) now joins an elite club with Roger Federer with 942 wins and Rafael Nadal with 675 wins in reaching a milestone.

“Today was just like another match and an opportunity to go out there and play well,” Hewitt said

“Yeah, obviously afterwards, you know, a great milestone.  Not many people get to achieve that.  Not many people get the opportunity to get close that, so means I have been around for an awfully long time, as well.  I’m getting old.

“Few years ago when I had the last couple lot of surgeries I probably would have doubted I’d get to this stage anyway.  I’m still grateful I’m out there and able to compete with the best guys.”

Hewitt spoke about ATP win No. 1 which came in his hometown event. “I was lucky enough to get a wildcard at the Adelaide event,” the Australian said.  “I won the tournament.  Yeah, I beat my good mate ‑‑ well, turned out he was my good mate probably six months, Scott Draper, another Australian Open in the first round.  We always joke about that.”

In the second round has the uneasy task of raking on World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

“I still play the game to have an opportunity to play against the best guys in the world, and, yeah, Rafa is,” Hewitt said.  “No doubt about it.

“I look forward to the challenge.  This is, you know, obviously a really tough draw and frustrating, you know, you don’t get to have a crack at him later in the tournament.

“But, yeah, I’m happy to get to go out there and play against Rafa.”

While Hewitt was out making history with his 600th win, fellow Australian Bernard Tomic made some history that he will want to forget.

Tomic, making his first appearance at a tournament since double hip surgery lost to Jarkko Nieminen 6-0, 6-1 in 28 minutes – a record for the shortest match ever on the ATP tour

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“The Journey Starts Today” An Interview with Nick Kyrgios

Nick Kyrgios from Australian open twitter feed

(January 17, 2014) MELBOURNE – There were probably few outside of the tightly knit Australian tennis community who knew Nick Kyrgios‘ name before Thursday night. But even devastating cramps did not tempt the 18-year-old to succumb to early defeat, still mustering up the energy – from God knows where – to stick it out to five sets with world No. 28 Benoit Paire.

While Kyrgios may not have won the match, he has won the hearts of thousands of viewers from all around the world and is motivated even more to go from strength to strength.

We caught up with Kyrgios to hear about his Australian Open debut, the transition to pro tour, his inspiration on court and his reaction to fellow Aussie Bernard Tomic‘s retirement from his first round match against Rafael Nadal earlier on in the week.

 

Alana Mitchelson: You must be pretty proud of your performance last night?

Nick Kyrgios: Last night was one of the best experiences of my life. It was my first Grand Slam best-of-five match. It was a bit unfortunate to lose but all credits to him, you know, he outlasted me. He played some really good tennis and I respected him as well. But the crowd was unbelievable. It was an experience that just keeps me motivated to keep improving.

AM: What was going through your mind as you started cramping up?

NK: My body was hurting a little bit towards the end and I knew that I was getting dominated in the last couple of sets. I knew I had to pull out something. But at that time I was just trying to relax and keep my body as efficient as possible so that I wasn’t going to fully cease up. I was good enough to finish the match and I gave it everything I could. That’s all you can do.

 

AM: Was there a reason why you didn’t call for a trainer to maybe have a massage? It might have given your legs a bit of a rest.

NK: That was running through my mind as well. Obviously there are rules, you can’t call for cramps, and I know there are a lot of ways around that but I thought I could have managed it myself and I thought I did everything I could. I don’t think I would have gotten too much out of that because I couldn’t really move my quad at one stage and I couldn’t really bend it or straighten it. So I just kept moving on with the game and it ended up feeling okay towards the end of the fifth set, but it was a bit too late. He had a lot of momentum and he just carried it through.

 

AM: After what happened with Tomic’s match earlier in the week, were you worried about how the crowd would react if you had called a time-out?

NK: I wasn’t thinking about Tomic at all at that stage when I was thinking about throwing the towel in. I was always going to finish the match to the very end no matter what happened out there. But obviously what happened to Bernie’s not ideal. I’m feeling for him. I hope he’s recovering as quick as possible because we need him for the Davis Cup tie coming up.

 

AM: What was your reaction to how the crowd reacted to Tomic retiring?

NK: That’s a tough question. I don’t really know. I’m sure Bernie had a legitimate reason for why he retired. He’s one of the best tennis players we’ve got. I’m sure he would have been feeling something out there, he’s not going to just retire. He loves being on that Rod Laver Arena. He’s played some unbelievable matches there and to have the opportunity to play Rafael Nadal as well, you’re not going to pass it up like that. I’m assuming that something is wrong.

 

AM: What has been your favourite part of this whole experience of playing at your home slam at men’s standard for the first time?

NK: Especially, it being the Australian Open, just playing at home and having your family and your friends and just everybody supporting you and getting behind you. I mean, last night sounded like a Davis Cup tie playing at home. Everybody just went nuts. They were really motivating me and pushing me to bring out some of my top tennis. It’s almost just motivated me to keep playing at this level continuously because it’s what you dream of when you’re a little kid.

 

AM: How have you been coping with being more so in the spotlight and receiving more media attention?

NK: I’m honestly not too fussed by all that stuff. It’s obviously tough having the spotlight on you and a lot of expectation, a lot of pressure. I think you’ve just got to embrace all that. You can’t really block it out because that’s when it starts to get to you. You just embrace it and you do everything you can to work through it. It’s tough when they’re firing questions at you when you’ve lost a five setter over about four hours yesterday, but you can’t let emotions cloud your responses.

 

AM: And your Twitter followers completely skyrocketed last night. What was that like, to just casually glance down at your phone and see you had 14,000 followers overnight?

NK: It was pretty crazy. But my phone’s running pretty slow at the moment. So it’s great that I’m getting all of the support, but my phone doesn’t really work properly right now. But it’s obviously good to have all the support out there and it’s motivating to keep working hard.

 

AM: You’re the only teenager in the top 200. How do you feel playing people who are older and more experienced than yourself? Are you intimidated by that at all? It didn’t seem to worry you last night.

NK: Nah, it’s not intimidating. You don’t really have too much to lose against those top guys. Receiving a wildcard, as well, you have an opportunity to just go out there and have an absolute crack at it. It’s obviously a good feeling being the only teenager in the top 200. All those facts are just motivating to keep going, to really make those top guys known to you.

 

AM: Who on the men’s tour do you have the most respect for?

NK: The most respect? Probably Roger Federer. He’s done an enormous amount for the game and he’s a perfect role model for anyone who does play tennis and who doesn’t play tennis. Just the way he conducts himself on and off the courts, it’s unbelievable the charity work he does. He’s the perfect person.

 

AM: Have you ever had the chance to have a chat to him?

NK: I haven’t had a running conversation with him but I’ve said ‘hi’ to him a couple of times and he’s said ‘hey, how are you?’ and stuff like that but I haven’t really had deep conversations with him.

 

AM: How were you first introduced to tennis?

NK: My mum took me down to the local tennis courts in Canberra, where I’m originally from, and I wasn’t too keen on it at all (laughs). But she just said to have a go and I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun out there and I think that carries on to today. I love having fun out there and really enjoy myself.

 

AM: Can you tell me a bit about your Greek heritage?

NK: My dad’s my Greek side. He was in Greece and he came to Australia in 1957 with his mum. I did a bit of Greek school when I was young but I was just real naughty. I never really did anything in class. That’s why, to this day, I can understand a little of it but I can’t speak it. Probably should’ve listened a bit more in class. It’s really good having such a strong Greek community in Melbourne come out and support me and Thanasi this week and I can’t thank them enough.

 

AM: Can you tell me a bit about your success as a Junior? When you’re playing with all of those other Australian kids across different states and you see just how much talent there is out there, how did you keep motivated to feel you might have a shot at this and to pursue tennis as a career?

NK: Yeah, I think we’re producing a lot of good Junior players in Australia at the moment. We’ve got a lot of guys in the Junior Australian Open as well. We all push each other, we all train together and I think moving from the Junior to the senior ranks is one of the toughest transitions. You’ve just got to stay positive. Tennis can beat you down mentally with all the travel and stuff, so you’ve just got to keep pushing, stay positive and push each other. I think it’s good that we all have each other as well.

 

AM: Like you said, you are going through that transition phase now. For some, it can be a quick process to shoot up in the rankings but for others it can be years and years. So how does that make you feel, knowing it could be next year or it could be 10 years?

NK: Yeah, you can’t really think about it too much like that because that’s sort of frightening. You’ve just got to take it each day at a time. The journey starts today and you’ve only got to worry about what you’re going to do today. You’ve got to get better at something every day I think too. You either take a step forward or you take a step back every day, so you’ve just got to keep bringing the right attitude every day.

 

AM: Is it nice that you and Thanasi Kokkinakis are making this transition into pro tour together?

NK: Yeah, I think having Thanasi there is really good because he’s a close friend as well and when I’m struggling I’ll talk to him or when he’s struggling he’ll talk to me. But we push each other. We’re sort of competing against each other as well. Whenever one of us makes that push, the other one follows. He’s done a great job. He’s really impressed me the last couple of years, especially last year, and he was playing some unbelievable tennis this week as well. It’s not really surprising that he’s doing that, you know, he’s a great player. It’s really good that we’re working together.

 

AM: Do you think there’s a little bit of a rivalry forming there between the two of you? I’m thinking back to the Australian Open Junior final last year and the 18s final before that again.

NK: Yeah, I’m sure there’s a bit of that there as well. That’s completely normal I think. Tennis is an individual sport. You’re going to always want yourself to perform the best. But I think it’s important that we stick together.

 

AM: Who gives you the most inspiration when you’re on the court. Obviously you have a lot of passion within you for the sport but there must be certain people in your life who really inspire you.

NK: Yeah, I think that person is Christos and he’s my brother. He amazes me how positive he is and how much motivation he has. He’s always in the gym pushing himself and he’s always motivating me – always keeping it positive, getting me up for training when I’m struggling for matches. He’s always been there. He’s always been on the side of the court. He was there last night from the start to the end. He’s really that person you described I think.

 

AM: What’s the funniest thing to have ever happened to you on a tennis court?

NK: Oh, probably the funniest thing that happened this week was last night when I saved the set point, second set, and they reckon it was the shot of the tournament so far. The crowd was loving it and I just got the crowd involved. That was probably my best moment because it looked pretty funny on the highlight.

 

AM: Thanks for your time and good luck with everything.

NK: Yeah, no probs. Thank you.

 

Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.

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Bernard Tomic: “I think I was misunderstood”

Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic

(January 14, 2014)MELBOURNE - Bernard Tomic faced the media again on Wednesday, a day after retiring from his first round match at the Australian Open against Rafael Nadal at the end of the first set with a groin injury. Upon his retirement he was serenaded with boos from the crowd. The Australian wanted to clarify to media and the public in general the details of his injury.

Here is the official transcript of his news conference courtesy of the Australian Open and ASAPSports:

Q.  How are you feeling the morning after?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Okay.  Had the scans in the morning, which confirmed that obviously I was right.  Unfortunately it did have to happen to me and it’s unlucky.  I was very ready to play the Australian Open and very ready to play Nadal, and unfortunately I have this injury now.

So I have to treat it as much as I can because I have Davis Cup coming along, and it’s important for me.

 

Q.  What exactly is the injury?  What did the scan show?
BERNARD TOMIC:  A groin, tore my groin playing the other day.  I think it was a lot of tennis involved over the past two weeks.  Playing very good in Hopman Cup; Sydney playing very good; maybe it was too much.

And then having to bounce back obviously this happened, and there’s not a lot I can do.

 

Q.  Serious tear or a small one?
BERNARD TOMIC:  It’s just a small one.  It’s not that big.  But if I had played on it it would have been 10 times worse, they say, so I could have been out potentially for three, four months.

I’m very happy I stopped.  It was the right call.

 

Q.  What’s the treatment plan now?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Obviously do recovery as much as I can.  I don’t know what sort of form of recovery it is.  I have to find out.

THE DOCTOR:  He has an adductor longus tear.  His groin, it’s about a one  to three week injury.  Had he played on, it could have been a three  to four month injury.

The scan is entirely consistent with his symptoms yesterday and completely vindicate him coming off.

 

Q.  Why are you doing the press conference?  Why not just release a statement?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Well, I think it’s important for me to come out like this.  A lot of people showed up last night, you know, expecting a very good match.  A lot of people paid their tickets.  It’s disappointing for that to happen.

The form I was in, I was ready to challenge Rafa and unfortunately this happened.  I felt like I got booed a little bit on court, which was pretty unfair.  I just needed to get my side out, which is, you know, obviously the truth and it’s important.

My recovery is going to start as quick as it can because I have the Davis Cup, and if I’m not ready for the Davis Cup it’s going to be very difficult for us.

 

Q.  Why do you think you were booed?
BERNARD TOMIC:  I think I was misunderstood.  Obviously they thought I was shaking Rafa’s hand because he’s too good and I’m forfeiting the match because I can’t play against him.

So I needed to say it was my leg.  I didn’t quite    I don’t think they quite understood that it was my leg.  And after, when I started to sort of explain that with my hand signals, they sort of it turned around into an applause.

But that’s the reason why.

 

Q.  Do you think people, with the booing and the papers this morning, made comparisons between Lleyton’s match before yours going to five sets and then yours which lasted a set?  What do you make of that comparison?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Yeah, I think, you know, I was watching the Lleyton match.  It was very, very good tennis and amazing for Lleyton to come back.  Unfortunate for him to have lost.

And then having to play my match following, you know, a lot of people following.  Everyone was going to be tuned in expecting a lot from me, and then obviously this happened.

But, you know, like I said, I would have loved to have had the chance to being fresh and playing, because I felt so confident over the past few weeks.

What can you do?  You know, what I mean?  Now I have to be ready for Davis Cup.  It’s important for me, the country, very important.

 

Q.  How important is your home Grand Slam to you, Bernard?  When it has headlines like today and over the weekend, can you tell us in your own words how much it matters?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Well, for me it’s, you know, an amazing Grand Slam.  I mean, I love this Grand Slam.  I’ve obviously done very good at it.  Wimbledon is obviously the best results I have done in.

But, you know, I feel sorry.  I would have loved to    once my name got drew to play Nadal I was obviously excited in one way because it’s a very good challenge for me.  You know, win/lose, it was going to be an amazing match.  I would have learned a lot.

You know, once it did happen, it’s not a lot you can do.  I do feel bad.  But, you know, positive on the hand that it’s probably going to go away in a week or two, so I have to try and do as much treatment as I can to make it disappear.

 

Q.  Do you feel misunderstood by the Australian people?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Well, yeah.  I think everyone sort of looks at you differently.  Being good, being talented, and being young is something, you know, that I had and have.

Obviously I have had these issues in those past, but, you know, you’ve got to focus.  You got to learn how to handle it, I think.

 

Q.  Do you think there are things you have to do differently to get people fully on your side and understanding?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Well, I mean, for sure, you’ve got to do a lot of things differently.  You know, you can only learn from the best players out there, the best people, best idols, role models, whatever you want to call them.

You know, I always prepared well for the Australian to do as best as I can, and obviously to have a good draw this year would have been nice.  I think my tennis has changed sort of in December and I sort of started playing differently.  It showed off in a few weeks.

Unfortunately here where I wanted to show off the most, you know, it was unfortunate with the leg.  But it’s okay.  I will try and get it treated.  It’s important for me.

 

Q.  You have had so many ups and downs in your young career.  If you could go back and change one thing, one element in how you’ve approached things in your career, what would that be?
BERNARD TOMIC:  You know, that’s a good question.  I wouldn’t change    I wouldn’t say I would change anything.  It’s tough to say that.

Everything happens for a reason.  You have to take whatever comes at you, and you’ve got to look at it as a positive.  Everything sort of happens for a reason in life.  You have to take it as a positive and learn how to improve.

In the end I know I’ll get there.  I’ve got to keep playing the tennis I was in the first few weeks, training the way I was training in December, and I’ve got this whole year.

So hopefully now I know can I get that.

 

Q.  So many things have happened in your young career.  Do you ever sort of lean back and say to yourself, What’s going on?  Why me?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Well, I think for sure.  You know, like you said.  But that’s the thing of getting there very young.  You get thrown into a lot of things.  A lot of things come your way.

You know, I was lucky that I got there at such a young age doing so good, experiencing a lot.  I’m still very young.  I just turned 21, so I have a full year till 22.  I will see where my ranking is at the end of the year.  I know if I keep the right things going I can improve a lot.

 

Q.  Jeered by some supporters off the court, you’re feeling injured, playing against the No. 1 player in the world.  How flat were you last night after this happened?
BERNARD TOMIC:  It’s not easy.  I would love to play that match, because I had a lot to throw at him.  I was ready for the challenge.  I was very confident.  I knew I had the game to frustrate him and to get under him, but I just couldn’t do it because I couldn’t move and I was battling with pain.

Lucky I stopped in the end, because I would have done myself a lot worse playing with Rafa another few hours on court.  Who knows?  Could have been another few months more, and then I would have dug myself a deeper hole.  So I’m lucky I stopped.

 

Q.  People seem to forget that you’re only 21.  Do you think the expectations from the public are a bit unfair?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Yeah, well, that’s the thing.  Coming at a high age, getting so high   I think in my career I was 27   people expect you to be 10 in the world now, 5 in the world.

Doesn’t work like that.  You look at the players now in the top 10, they are all    they’re the best tennis players to ever live playing in one sort or era.

You have amazing top 10 players.  It’s difficult to get there.  You have to earn the position.  It’s difficult to get in the top 15, top 20.  You have to work for it.

I got close and then I sort of slipped back.  I had points to defend.  I didn’t know how to handle it.  But I’m learning.  One day when I’m there, and I know I will be there very soon, is there is no stopping me.  I know I’ll keep going forward.  But I got to work hard.

 

Q.  What’s your goal for this year in the ranking?  Where would you like to end the year?
BERNARD TOMIC:  25 is reasonable.  Looking back to the comments Roger said, I agree with that.  There is no reason pushing top 10, because you can’t  you have to take steps at a time, and I need to get in the top 30 where it’s going to be easier for me to get seedings into the smaller tournaments, and then I can prepare myself to win these titles.

Once I get top 30 I will be seeded for Grand Slams.  It will become much more easier for me in a way.  I’ll be much more confident.

Until then, I’ve got to work for that top 30 spot, and then, you know, I can just keep pushing forward from that.

 

Q.  What are your chances to play Davis Cup?
BERNARD TOMIC:  Right now probably not looking good, which is a shame.  It’s a very important tie for us.  You know, we’ve got to take on Gasquet and Tsonga on clay.

If I’m not on the team, obviously Marinko is going to probably have to step up and play.  His Davis Cup record isn’t that great, but he’s going to have to change and work hard the next few weeks.

But I will find out in the next five, six days and the team will be known until then.

 

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Top Seeds Advance in Melbourne Despite Extreme Heat Conditions

Nadal

(January 14, 2014) On a day which saw soaring temperatures, the Australian Open saw top seeds advance on day two of the tennis’ first major of the year. Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer,  Juan Martin Del Potro, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka  moved into the second round despite temperatures which went over 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).

In addition to the heat, the tournament was beset by retirements, not linked to the heat – six in all which included top American John Isner (ankle) the 13th seed, 12 seed Tommy Haas (shoulder) and 21st seed Philipp Kohlschreiber who withdrew before play, Radek Stepanek (neck).

Nadal was only on the court for a set up 6-4 when his opponent Australian Bernard Tomic retired with a groin injury.

“I know how tough is this situation, I had the same a few years ago at this tournament,” Nadal said. “Since the beginning, I saw a little bit he had some problems on the leg.”

“It was sad,” Tomic said.  It’s unfortunate.  You know, this opportunity I had to play against Rafa was huge for me.  Could have used a lot of it.

“Unfortunately, I couldn’t compete.  It was very difficult for me to say sorry to the crowd.  I don’t think they quite knew what was wrong with me.”

Federer began his record 57th consecutive major tournament with a 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over Australian wild-card James Duckworth.

Just over a week after beating Federer in Brisbane, Former Lleyton Hewitt fell in his home slam in five grueling sets to No. 24-seeded Andreas Seppi of Italy

Men’s seeds advancing included No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, No. 11 Milos Raonic, No. 16 Kei Nishikori, No. 22 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 31 Fernando Verdasco.

On the women’s side No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanzka, No. 8 Jelena Jankovic, No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki, No. 11 Simona Halep,  No. 13 Sloane Stephens, No. 16 Carla Suarez Navarro, and No. 20 Dominika Cibulkova.

In the women’s upset of the day, No. 19 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova fell  6-3, 6-3 to Elina Svitolina.

Related Articles:

Players React to the Heat at the Australian Open

Nishikori Wins Five-Set Test Under Scorching Heat in Melbourne

Dimitrov Recovers form to best Klahn at Australian Open

One-on-One with American Tennis Player Tim Smyczek

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Juan Martin Del Potro Wins Sydney International

Del Potro

By Dave Gertler

(January 11, 2014) SYDNEY – A flurry of unforced errors in the first set between Bernard Tomic and Juan Martin Del Potro was the beginning of the end of Tomic’s campaign to defend the Apia International title, in Sydney on Saturday night.

For the first six games, both Tomic and Del Potro displayed a cross section of the shots and power available to them, and although Tomic was dropping the first point of his service games – a trend that would continue throughout the rest of the match – he was still managing to hold serve, albeit without pushing Del Potro on his own serve – also an unhelpful trend for the 21-year-old Australian.

Tomic was hanging in there with the world No.5, and serving at 3-all when he made four consecutive unforced errors to hand Del Potro the break. This would be the start of a ten-point run that would only end when Tomic was serving at 3-5, 0-30. Seemingly stripped of his confidence from this point, the set was over a few points later, when Tomic netted a backhand to give Del Potro the first set 6-3.

Tomic would later comment on the significant turning point, saying, “I felt like at the 3 all game I missed two, three shots I shouldn’t have probably missed. From then, he just sort of got momentum and started to relax, and he was starting to play to win rather not to lose. From then it was very difficult for me to turn it around. Very difficult.”

Nonetheless, after a rousing cheer from the Aussie crowd between play of the first and second sets, Tomic showed positive signs of keeping up with the grand slam champion. When Del Potro – whom many in the crowd also came to support – held the opening service game of the second set to love, Tomic matched this feat on his own serve, firing off two aces on the way to his own love-hold.

Unfortunately for Tomic, that was all the love he would get on Ken Rosewall Arena, as he would go on to lose the next five games, and the championship, in a match that lasted 53 minutes.

A stingy Del Potro never let Tomic have more than two points on his serve – he dominated his younger opponent with 83% first serve points won (compared to Tomic’s 60%) and 86% second serve points won (compared to Tomic’s 25%). Towards the end of the short match, Del Potro was regularly clocking over 200km/h on first serve, whereas the Australian’s first serve maxed out at about 160km/h.

Del Potro said post match, “I think I play great. My forehand works perfect, I make a lot winners, many aces, play good slices. Every long rally we played I won all of them.” He summarized the win over Tomic, saying, “I think Bernard was a little frustrating after see me very focus on the match and hitting the ball so well. He is still young in some moment of the match, but he has everything to win titles, and he will reach finals very, very soon.”

Both players are now looking ahead to the Australian Open in Melbourne, where Tomic has drawn world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the first round. Ken Rosewall, the man himself, had congratulated both players on court after the final was over. “He said, Very good tournament. Pleased to have you back,” Tomic recounted his conversation with the living tennis legend, “I said, Thank you, Mr. Rosewall, hopefully next year I can come back and have another chance of winning.  He wished me luck for Tuesday’s match against Rafa.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney and was covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Del Potro and Tomic advance to the finals of the Apia International

Bernard Tomic

Bernard Tomic

By Dave Gertler

(January 10, 2014) SYDNEY – Juan Martin Del Potro put on a clinical display of dominant tennis to beat Dmitry Tursunov in the semifinals of the Apia International, on Friday.

Tursunov mustered all the defensive skills he could manage to try and hold off the Argentine world No.5, who seemed to be hitting bigger and moving around the court at a higher intensity than the Sydney crowd had yet seen in 2014. The 31-year-old Russian world No.32 fought well on serve but was unable to match the level of the 2009 US Open champion. While he kept up for most of the first set, only ceding one break toward the end for 4-6, the second set was more one-sided, Tursunov broken twice on the way to a 2-6 scoreline.

“I think I played the best match of the week,” said Del Potro, “I played great with my forehands and serves. I didn’t make easy errors and I play solid on the baselines and I play good dropshots, good volleys. I think I did everything okay, and I’m glad with my level of today. I’m looking forward for the final of tomorrow.”

When asked whether it was the announcement of the Australian Open draw earlier in the day that had been the catalyst for his performance today, Del Potro emphasized his focus on this tournament, saying, “I didn’t see (the draw) yet, and I don’t want to know yet. I think I’m trying to be professional. This tournament is not over yet for me. I have an important match tomorrow, so I try to just be focus on this tournament, on this draw, this schedule. And my team already knows they’re not allowed to talk about Melbourne yet.  My friends, too. If I can be focused just on in tournament it’s much better for me.”

While the second semifinal was being decided between Sergiy Stakhovsky and Bernard Tomic, Del Potro discussed his thoughts on playing Tomic – the eventual winner – saying, “He’s hitting harder his forehand. He been working a lot on that forehand I think. He improve a little bit his game. In the final everything can happen. Doesn’t matter who’s the favorite on the paper. The final must to be play, and tomorrow I can tell you who is the winner.”

Tomic’s win over Stakhovsky was a nervous one, Stakhovsky known as a net-rushing all-court player, and also famously for his upset over Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2013. In a topsy-turvy affair, Tomic seemed unsettled and less confident than the calculating, aggressive Tomic who had beaten Alexandr Dolgopolov the previous evening.

In the early stages of the match, Stakhovsky was the more aggressive and won the first set in a tie break. While Tomic and Stakhovsky together faced 11 break points in the first set, the second set saw only one break point – on Stakhovsky’s serve – which Tomic converted, to win the set 7-5, taking the match to a deciding set.

Stakhovsky’s unforced errors were a factor throughout the match, and were his downfall in the third set, along with some untimely double faults. Tomic became the more aggressive and relatively consistent player of the two, in a match largely characterized stalemate. Forcing the break of serve at 3-3, Tomic held for 5-3 and broke again to close out the match.

Tomic was realistic about his chances against Del Potro, and gave an honest assessment of his sketchy performance in the semifinal by saying he will need to, “Play the way I played in my first round and the quarters to win.”

Like Del Potro, Tomic – who it was announced today will face world No.1 Rafael Nadal in the first round at the Australian Open – was reluctant to cast his thoughts ahead to next week’s grand slam, saying, “My main priority is tomorrow night, and on Sunday I’ll think about the Australian Open.” When asked again, he said, “Like I said, we’ll talk about it Sunday.”

About Del Potro, Tomic said, “He can play amazing. I have to stick with him to have a chance. He could get tight and I play a little bit differently, so hopefully I can get buzzed up and play my tennis,” also adding that the Argentine’s forehand is the best on tour.

As an overall strategy going into the final, Tomic said, “I know what Juan is gonna be doing.  Obviously he’s very, very good at what he does. This is why he’s there. I have to do something different. I have to play my game. It’s a final. I’ll go out there, have fun, relax, and I’m going for the win.”

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Defending Champion Tomic Tops Crafty Dolgopolov

Tomic jacket

By Dave Gertler

(January 9, 2014) SYDNEY – Bernard Tomic has beaten Alexandr Dolgopolov to reach the semifinals of the Apia International in Sydney. It was an entertaining match from the start, both players being known for their crafty and hard-to-predict shots and patterns of play, Tomic with the bigger serve and shots – when he needs them – and Dolgopolov the faster around the court and able to pull the trigger from anywhere.

The first set was very close, with both players hitting purposefully and matching each other shot for shot. Tomic got the first break but Dolgopolov broke back a couple of games later before Tomic broke again, taking the first set 6-4.

After being broken early in the second set, Dolgopolov lost some crispness off his shots, taking a more defensive style of play, which left Tomic to control most of the points. The crowd in Ken Rosewall Arena swayed between supporting Tomic’s on-court performance, and simply being enthralled at the level of tennis they were seeing from both players.

Dolgopolov briefly returned to the level of play that saw him oust No.2 seed Jerzy Janowicz yesterday in the second round, but it was too little too late, as Tomic held on to win the second set 6-3, the match lasting 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Bernard Tomic photo by Paul Gertler

Bernard Tomic photo by Paul Gertler

Tomic discussed his mentality going into the match against Dolgopolov, who’s been ranked as high as No.13, saying, “He’s very difficult to play. I knew as soon as I was playing him it was going to be a difficult match. I don’t like playing him. I played the right tennis. I was very focused and very clear what I needed to do.” Expanding on his tactics for this match, he added later, “I played him so many times I know exactly what he’s going to do and does. I’m just probably lucky he was expecting me to play a little bit more the way I played the few other times I played him. But I didn’t. I didn’t let him get into that zone. That’s why I felt like I had the better advantage.”

Tomic’s acknowledged his good form early in the year, saying, “Every match is getting better and better. I played the first match good and it felt very good, comfortable out on the court today, like in the first round.”

Despite clearly being focused on his campaign to defend his Apia International title, Tomic still had time to discuss the jacket he wore in the post-match news conference. When asked about it, he smiled and said, “It’s from space…It’s a very cool jacket. It’s really unusual.  I don’t know. I like it.”

Dave Gertler is a tennis journalist, player and musician based in Sydney covering the Australian summer of tennis for Tennis Panorama News. Follow his Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN, follow him on his personal Twitter @davegertler,  read his blog,  and listen to his podcast, Tennis Days .

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Del Potro Survives Test from Mahut to Advance in Sydney

Juan Martin Del Potro

(January 8, 2014) SYDNEY – Sydney top seed Juan Martin Del Potro had to rally to beat Nicolas Mahut 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 in his opening match of the tournament.

“I think to be my first match after two months it was okay,” note the Argentine.  “The court and the balls are really fast and it’s tough to play long rallies.

“And also Mahut serves really well, and he played a lot of slices and volleys.  It’s tough to feel the ball on the baseline.  In the end I broke his serve in the third set, only once, and that was enough to close the match.”

The world No. 5 gets another challenge in Czech Radek Stepanek next.

“He’s a really tough opponent,” Del Potro said.  “They won the Davis Cup, so he must feel confidence playing in this surface.  He has experience.  He’s doing really well in doubles matches, too.

“We play many times.  Every match was close.  I need to improve a little bit my game basically when I start the match and then see what’s happen.

“I’m glad to be in quarterfinals here once again, and I am looking forward to go far in this tournament.”

In other men’s matches, Alexandr Dolgopolov upset second seed Jerzy Janowicz of Poland 6-2, 6-2 while defending champion Bernard Tomic moved in the quarterfinals with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 win over Blaz Kavcic.

“I’m trying to prepare as best I can,” Tomic said.  “I’m not looking at this to defend my title, like I said yesterday.  I’m looking to win another one.  I believe I can do it.

“Eight players left.  I’m confident.  I’m going to keep trying.  Tomorrow is a difficult match.  I’ve got to go out there and play tennis like I did in the first round, ant that’s going to give me the best chance of winning.

Tomic is the defending champion at the Apia International.

Tennis Panorama News is in Sydney Australia covering the Apia International tennis tournament. Follow the Twitter updates from the tournament @TennisNewsTPN

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